October is Cyber-Security awareness month. You may have noticed your banks and other larger corporate entities providing information about cybersecurity. This information is geared to help keep account information safe. Services that obtain and control your data are, most of the time, working diligently to keep records safe. However, have you thought about what is keeping your home safe? A lot of newer homes on the market now have smart systems installed but what does that mean? 

Alarm Basics

 

Think about your home. For basic security, there are locks on the doors and windows. To enhance security there are many options. Alarm monitoring systems, signs, and video cameras are just a few systems that can be used. Let’s think about this for a moment. A door lock that requires a key is a standalone system.  The key can be given or duplicated to those who you choose. It is a very direct control process. 

An alarm system is one that uses electricity. A video system is one that needs to utilize connectivity. For this instance, let’s agree that connectivity is web-enabled. This means that information coming from your house is being transmitted to another location. Who are you giving this information too and who has access to it? 

Who Can See?

 

Most people are not fully aware of how the inner workings of these devices work. All we know is that if we say, “Alexa play a song” the device will play. If we say, “Hey Google, turn on the lights.” The lights turn on. The doorbell rings and you are able to look at your phone and see who is standing at the door. These are just some of the capabilities of a smart home. Do you know how they work and what is behind it? 

More and more there are stories that are coming out about home devices being compromised or otherwise known as hacked. The news demonstrates cases of hacking that can occur with home devices. The instance that feels the most invasive is when someone is watching through a camera that you only thought was one way. Even when you think a device is turned off, is it really? 

Aware of Risks

 

Cyber Security is about being aware of the possible risks associated with using these services. What are you exposing yourself too and how you can limit that exposure to only what you know and need. If you are buying a new home with smart capabilities have a discussion with your realtor about the set-up. Do the research and look into the systems. Do you need to set up a firewall? Which devices are constantly sending and receiving information from an external device? Can you unplug the device? Where is the information from that device going? What happens and what should you do if someone does hack into your home? 

This is something to be aware of and come up with a plan that is right for you and your devices. What steps should you take to keep your information safe and what should you do if it has been compromised?